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COMMITTEE FOR HUMAN RIGHTS IN NORTH KOREA URGES UN GENERAL ASSEMBLY TO MAINTAIN STRONG RESOLUTION ON HUMAN RIGHTS IN NORTH KOREA
October 22, 2018


October 22, 2018 - The Committee for Human Rights in North Korea (HRNK), a leading U.S. non-governmental organization with consultative status at the United Nations, today called upon the UN General Assembly to continue to adopt a strong annual resolution on the human rights situation in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). North Korea’s pursuit of a peace agenda, HRNK declared, has not been matched by steps to improve its human rights record. This finding was confirmed by the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in the DPRK, Tomas Ojea Quintana, whose September 19, 2018 report to the General Assembly found “no substantial changes in the serious human rights situation.”

Given the lack of improvement, HRNK calls for the General Assembly resolution to address:

  • The continued widespread and systematic crimes against humanity identified by the UN Commission of Inquiry and referenced in last year’s General Assembly resolution, which was adopted by broad consensus.
  • The political prison camps (kwan-li-so) and the re-education through labor camps (kyo-hwa-so) where tens of thousands of North Korean men, women, and children are incarcerated without adequate food or medical care, and regularly abused. According to satellite imagery analysis, the camps are expanding. HRNK has identified over twenty potential re-education through labor camps in addition to six operational political prison camps—Nos. 14, 15, 16, 18, 25 as well as Choma-bong Restricted Area, where a high security perimeter was constructed between 2013 and 2014 coinciding with the execution of Jang Song-taek and the imprisonment of his colleagues and family members.
  • Accountability for those most responsible for crimes against humanity as called for by the 2014 Commission of Inquiry report and the General Assembly’s 2017 resolution. Because of the direct link between the treatment of the North Korean people and security and stability of the Korean Peninsula, the resolution should again urge the Security Council to place the human rights situation on its agenda.
  • The violation of workers’ rights inside the country, in the prison facilities, and when workers are sent overseas. The revenue accrued to the government from forced labor sent abroad helps to enable its continued military and nuclear development.

To make connection with and promote the human rights of the North Korean people, HRNK calls for:

  1. Entry to the DPRK of UN human rights rapporteurs and officials; and 
  2. Full access and monitoring for humanitarian actors seeking to address the widespread malnutrition and lack of medical care in the country so as to enable them to reach the most vulnerable, including those in detention facilities.

In this submission, HRNK focuses its attention on the DPRK’s—  1. System of political imprisonment, wherein a multitude of human rights violations are evidenced, including enforced disappearance, amounting to crimes against humanity.  2. Restrictions on freedom of movement, affecting women in particular, as evidenced in sexual violence, human trafficking, and arbitrary detention.  3. Policy of social and political discrimination, known as “so

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